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Hubert Duprat

The larvae of the caddisfly build themselves weird little sarcophagi from sand, shells, and other riverbed junk. But that’s just because they live near ponds and streams — they’ll build out of whatever raw material is lying around. So French artist Hubert Duprat provided the larvae with gold, jewels, and pearls, and let them fashion themselves the most ornate, luxurious caddis houses ever known to man or insect.

You can watch the caddis larvae building houses in this video of Duprat’s work, starting at around 2:33.

If you’re like me, you are not surprised by all this, because you learned about caddis houses as a child from Elizabeth Enright’s The Four-Story Mistake, in which a kid finds a diamond stuck to one. So you probably just assumed that streambeds everywhere are riddled with gold and jewels, courtesy of industrious fly larvae. But you are probably not like me, because you would be pretty weird, so enjoy these pictures of something you presumably harbored no prior delusions about.

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Hubert Duprat